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We can be deeply but quietly affected by passion, or get carried away.

but it sure helps to have a little in your life.

If you look around and see a lot of  people going place to place in your neighborhood without smiles on their faces, you probably haven’t had a good arts program in your schools for a while. To test this, go to a place where folks live in a environment where art and good design is all around them. It turns out that being surrounded by beauty is a good catalyst for contentment and being in the company of grinning neighbors.

We are in a time when we are drifting away from the arts in our education, in our lives and in our environment. The results can be seen in my neighborhood. Lovely traditional homes are regularly torn down and replaced by large structures that will later be torn down at the whim of a new owner. Large hunks of the city of Detroit are being purchased and then designed by hedge funds. What is happening now is a result of something that happened years ago. Too many of those who are in charge of our future weren’t influenced by a passionate arts teacher.

To find out how we can create a more vibrant community I think that we must look at what we think is important. Right now it is to get through the day. We are only developing  the skills to survive in a fast moving environment. It is too easy to think that there will be time for beauty and excellence at the end of our day. We are losing the ability to plan ahead.


Most educators agree that having more arts programs in our schools is a bargain. Arts programs are popular with all teachers because they increase the enthusiasm for learning which carries over to other studies.

We can learn a lot about teaching art by looking at how jazz has been taught in Detroit. It all starts by having teachers who are passionate about jazz, and then transfer that passion to the next generation. Learning to play jazz isn’t easy, yet excellence is achieved in part by including the following elements in the process.

Passion / Personal ownership / Getting along / Discipline, hard work, and excellence / Reward


Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible. Passion can best be heard, seen or felt. You know it when you see it.

Passion is that something more than just being interested in something. It can last a lifetime. Passion is hard to quantify, and we don’t have tests to measure it. We can look around and see the results when a passion for the arts is missing and when apathy sets in.


“A great teacher stimulates his student’s creativity enough so that they go out & find the answers themselves.”  Herbie Hancock

Passion in a teacher spreads to their students who in turn get passionate about learning. It ignites their inner curiosity, generates enthusiasm,and it gives students confidence in their own capacity to learn. It brings out the best in students and allows their performances to soar.

“As long as musicians have passion for spontaneity & creating something that’s never been before, Jazz will flourish.”  Charlie Haden

The time I have spent around jazz musicians convinces me that they have a quality and an advantage that we need to inject into all teachers. Fun is injected into the lessons, as jazz is fun to play and learn. Jazz musicians seem to be able to work hard and have fun at the same time. Students see this, and they figure that hard  work and fun just seem to go together. They are likely to carry this thought for the rest of their learning lives.

Passion helps a teacher to persist and not give up when things get tough. Teaching can have setbacks, and teachers do get feisty. The kids know this, but students will also see the passion and stay on track.

A passion for teaching is contagious and now research shows that passionate teachers do get better results.

“I cannot play a lie. I have to believe in what I play or it won’t come out.”  Stan Getz

An honest passion for jazz has kept Detroit one of music’s great citadels of learning. Share the word about Detroit’s joy in teaching and learning art and music.

John Osler


May 9 – May 10


Michael will merge his understanding of the rhythms of West Africa from his travels with the  State Department with his knowledge of jazz he has learned playing with Art Blakey, Pharaoh Sanders and Donald Byrd. A learning experience.

May11 – May12


The Dirty Dog welcomes one of jazz’s treasures, who has been positively compared with Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. This world-renowned vocalist is a noted and prolific composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and educator.

#Detroit #DirtyDog #DetroitJazzFestival #AguankoLatinMusicCubaCubanjazz #RodneyWhitaker #Jazz #DetroitJazz #CarmenLundyMichaelZaporski #DwightAdams #DirtyDogJazzCafé #JazzinDetroit #GretchenValade #SeanDobbinsQuintet #musicDirtyDogJazzCafe

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